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A Forgotten American-Made Supercar: The Vector W8

There is just something special to many drivers about having a car that is made here in the United States. It doesn’t matter if you stand on the Dodge side of the fence, or pick Chevrolet or even Ford. There is one big thing that all of these cars have in common, and it is the good ol’ American muscle cars that we know and love. Sure, all of these car manufacturers are just as well known for their trucks, but American muscle cars are more than just a car. They are a culture and a heritage all to themselves. Nothing feels quite as patriotic as driving an American muscle car, except maybe, an American-built supercar, like the Vector W8. 

The Vector W8

The Vector W8 wasn’t the first supercar that was American-made, and it is far from the last. Regardless, it is still a car most people wouldn’t recognize it. It isn’t quite as iconic as the Dodge Viper, but that might be part of the charm of the vehicle. Even upon first glance, you can tell that the Vector W8 is something different, and the more you learn about it, the more you might be surprised. There isn’t anything quite like it. 

GOODWOOD, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: The Vector W8 is displayed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the Earl of March's private lawn on June 24, 2007 in Goodwood, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
The Vector W8 is displayed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed | Dave Benett

A true American supercar

This American supercar was designed to challenge the European greats, like Lamborghini and Ferrari. It couldn’t just look exotic, it had to have the performance too. Under the oddly designed hood, you will find a 6.0-liter V8 engine that was heavily modified and originated in another iconic American sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. Boosted by twin turbocharger, you would find this shark-nosed ride to have around 625hp and 650 lb-feet of torque. That might not sound like enough to qualify the car as a supercar in today’s automotive world, but comparing it to the Lamborghini Countach which only made 450hp might change your mind.

“The single craziest supercar ever made”

Doug Demuro

What was even weirder about the Vector W8 was that it mounted the very capable engine to a transmission from GM. Combined with a Corvette engine that isn’t that surprising, but their choice of specific transmission might throw you for a loop. It had a 3-speed hydramatic transmission which was most commonly used in motor homes, not cars.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Vector

Sitting down into the very low, slightly uncomfortable Vector W8 and you may feel as though you’ve stepped into the cockpit of an airplane. In fact, if you check out some of the dials you might find yourself wondering why they are there altogether. That is because the company, Vector, wasn’t originally intending on making cars, instead, they were supposed to be an airplane company.

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Vector wasn’t even trying to hide that fact, and it is part of why the car has some of its weird quirks. The odometer for the W8 reads out mileage, but it also tells you how many hours the car has been run, which is the common usage measurement for aircraft. But, perhaps, that is why the car looks so absurdly aerodynamic-focused.